Despite several suicide attempts and her husband’s increasing isolation, Barbara believed her love and two cute kids who adored him, would help him through his mental illness and their marriage would survive.
After the Easter suicide attempt, things were kind of rocky. We had some friends come and stay one weekend and one of the friends asked my husband how he pictured himself. He said he was the king. Then the friend asked how he pictured me and my husband said, ‘oh she’s the servant.’
So all these signs kept piling one on top of the other. I was being the co-dependent. The worse he got, the harder I tried to keep everything together, to make everything OK for the kids. I was so invested in us that I really couldn’t step back and be objective. I couldn’t look at how really serious things were getting. Then we went to a conference together. It was with a spiritual group we used to belong to and it was that weekend that it all became clear.
The conference was in Boulder and we were sitting at a restaurant on Pearl Street Mall at an outdoor table. My husband always had really odd things that he wouldn’t eat and we had this everything pizza. So I was sitting there picking stuff off his pizza – I did it without even thinking – and everyone else looked at me. Finally somebody said, ‘He’s a grown up. He can do that for himself.”
He was in a bad mood then and walked off. He didn’t spend the rest of the weekend with us. I finally saw that he was pulling away. He was removing himself both in our marriage, in our home, with these old friends. He was rejecting his whole life.
That realization was very upsetting for me. It was a shock. Instead of focusing on this piece and this piece, all of a sudden I saw how it was all connected. So on the plane back to Boston we finally talked and I said, ‘What’s going on here?’ You don’t want this life anymore? You don’t want to be a dad anymore? You don’t want to be married?’ He just said he wanted to go to Las Vegas and he wanted to be a dealer.
The Divorce Coach Says
I didn’t have to deal with anywhere near the depth of traumatic events that Barbara dealt with but I can recognize reacting to incidents as simply that – not connected, single isolated events that held no connection to each other. I also remember the curtain of sadness that fell when I did connect everything and started to think that divorce was the only way I could be happy again. That must have been one lonely, tense plane ride back to Boston.